The Barrier of Unconfessed Sin

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

–1 Peter 3:12

Why doesn’t God always answer our requests for help and guidance? The Bible says one reason for God’s silence may be unconfessed sin in our lives. Look at Isaiah 59:2: “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” That verse was not written to unbelievers; it was written to God’s people, the Israelites. God was saying, “Even though you belong to Me, your disobedience has formed a chasm between you and Me so that I cannot hear your prayers.” In Psalm 66:18, the psalmist said, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” Scripture is clear: sin in our lives is a barrier that keeps God from hearing or answering our prayers.

You might say, “Wait a minute, Pastor. I thought the moment I trusted in Christ as my Savior, God forgave all my sins, and the barrier between me and God was torn down.”

There’s a difference between God’s judicial forgiveness and His parental forgiveness. Judicial forgiveness happens the moment you realize you can’t save yourself from your sins and instead you trust in what Christ did for you on the cross. At that moment, you are forgiven of all your sins, past, present, and future. Your status with God also changes–you are no longer an enemy of God; you become a child of God. That is God’s judicial forgiveness.

Even though you’re a child of God, you still experience His parental disapproval for your mistakes. When your child disobeys you, do you disown them? No, but there’s going to be a rift in your relationship. And as long as that relationship is fractured, you’re probably not going to give them whatever they ask for. Only when they acknowledge their mistakes and improve their behavior will you be open to their requests. It’s the same way in our relationship with God. As Christians, we still sin. We no longer need God’s judicial forgiveness, but we do need His parental forgiveness in order to bridge that broken relationship. One reason for God’s silence may be to get our attention and remind us that we need His parental forgiveness.

Maybe right now there’s an area of your life in which you’re disobeying God. Perhaps it’s an extramarital relationship. Perhaps it’s bitterness in your heart toward another person. Perhaps it’s unbridled greed and ambition that have taken God’s rightful place in your life. That sin may be responsible for God’s silence. You need His parental forgiveness.

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Today’s devotion is adapted from “God’s Thundering Silence” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

 

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